Pascale’s Blog

september 13, 2012

It takes a village…
to make a farmers market successful.

On this Community Day in Chappaqua we’d like to thank all of you who come and support your local farmers week after week.

Since moving our market to the grassy “meadow” you have made the weekly trek in greater numbers to see what gorgeous greens and other interesting edibles our vendors have put on display. So many of you have become “regulars” and our vendors now know you by name and even know whether you prefer your beets with the greens still attached (for wilting of course) or whether you take your Cherry Rose White tea sweetened or not.

I hope to be at the market’s Community Day tent this Saturday to thank many of you in person but just wanted to put in writing how grateful we at the Chappaqua Farmers Market all are for your commitment to and enthusiasm for our growing market.

This week we bring you purple string beans, purple basil pesto and purple-ish heirloom tomatoes!

We also bring you a new savory “blondie” from Rich Brownies: one made with rosemary from Newgate Farms and olive oil from Kontoulis. Ask Betsy to give you a sample. She’s been playing with the recipe all week and this time she thinks she’s nailed it. (Hard to go wrong with those ingredients, right?).

Renee’s Jams is also paying us a visit. I’ill be curious to see how the emerging fall’s bounty translates into jam jars.

Start thinking soups…carrot ginger, carrot cumin, parsnip and apple….
For something heartier, try some white bean soup with some sausage from Roaming Angus or Stone Barns.

Grammy’s Gardens has left us for the summer, but Stone Barns has lovely bouquets from their greenhouses….

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

september 6, 2012

Was the first week of school a little stressful on the little ones?
Bring them to the farmers market tomorrow for some much-needed “down” time on the mat. BREATHE Pilates & Yoga Studio will be sponsoring kids drop-in  yoga classes (free) from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

And while your kids are doing some downward dogs, you can do a little unwinding yourself by strolling through the market and admiring the best of what the late summer harvest has to offer: eggplant, peppers, squash and beans.

Start your school year right by sitting down for dinner with your kids. It helps to plan your menu ahead of time. Get a whole chicken to roast from Stone Barns or Roaming Angus. Stuff it with forty cloves of garlic or rub a thyme butter paste between the skin and flesh before popping it in the oven.

Grill some steaks and serve with a carrot- or cauliflower- potato mash and wilted chard or spinach. Designate one night as “meatless” and make a mushroom or kale risotto. Or an omelet packed with with fresh herbs like chives, basil and thyme.

Eggs are no longer public enemy number one. In fact, more and more studies show that eggs – farm-fresh eggs – are the perfect source of protein to build lean muscle and they are packed with heart-healthy Omega 3 fats. The nutritionists at The Secret Ingredient agree. In fact, they will be doing a cooking demo at the market this week showcasing the incredible egg in a pesto egg sandwich. They will also have lots of other enticing egg recipes so make sure to stop by their tent.

Stock up on items from Flourish Baked Goods this Saturday…they are going to be doing a food festival in the city for the next few weeks and so will not be able to come to market for a while.

Have you tried Spice Revolution’s fermented black garlic? Surprisingly sweet it tastes (and spreads) great on toast.

And don’t forget to bring your knives and pruning shears….the knife sharpeners will be here.

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

august 30

This week’s blog comes to you from Stonington, Maine, where I’m visiting a different sweet farmer’s market every day (so far, Brooksville is my fave) and eating SO local that I’m afraid I’m going to sprout pincer claws.

Today, we’re going “mussel-ing” and tonight, to take a break from lobster, we are having Moules a la Mariniere (the bistro classic: mussels steamed in white wine).

Fortunately, you don’t have to come all the way to Maine to eat great mussels or clams:

Pura Vida usually has pecks of them, culled from the Hampton Bays, inside their coolers at the market.

Should you decide to get some this weekend, or next, here is an easy recipe – guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Moules a la Mariniere
Serves 4

3-4 pounds of mussels
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 bay leaves
2 cups of dry white wine like a muscadet
100g butter (7 tbs) cubed
A medium bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1. Rinse the mussels in cold running water, and then give them a good scrub and scrape to remove any barnacles or dirt. Discard any with broken shells, and give any open ones a sharp tap: if they don’t close, then throw them away too, because they’re dead. Pull out the beards – the fibrous little appendages which the mussels use to attach themselves to ropes or rocks, by pulling them sharply towards the hinge end of the mussel, then leave them to sit in cold water for a couple of hours until ready to use.

2. Put the chopped shallots, thyme leaves, bay leaf and wine into a large pan, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down, and cook gently for 10 minutes, then turn up the heat to medium-high.

3. Drain the mussels and tip into the pan. Cover and cook until most of them have opened: about 3 minutes.

4. Add the butter and put the lid back on for 30 seconds to allow it to melt. Add the parsley and shake the pan well to distribute, then season gently and serve immediately, discarding any mussels which remain closed.

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

august 23, 2012

Farmer’s markets and farmstands are brimming with summer’s bounty right now – and Chappaqua is no exception.

Crates are overflowing with tomatoes, cherry, Mexican, heirloom, orange, plum and otherwise…there are ridiculous amounts of basil, cucumbers, squash and eggplant.

Try to think beyond this weekend’s dinner menu – and buy extra so you can enjoy LOCAL summer fruits and vegetables this winter.

This is the time of year to buckle down and make sauces to freeze or can. Buy some ground lamb from Stone Barns to make a mean ragu that’ll warm your bones come January.

Make sure to pick up some spices from Spice Revolution for pickling! Turn workaday cucumbers into bread and butter pickles…or make your own dilly beans!

Make your own tomato or peach salsa guaranteed to put a warm summer smile on your face in dreary February.

You’ve got access to great ingredients…all you need is a little time – and isn’t that what the last days of summer are for?

Need some hand-holding to walk you through it? Check out these very useful cookbooks:
“Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons” (William Morrow) by Pat Crocker
“Stocking Up: America’s Classic Preserving Guide” (Rodale) , by Carole Hupping, now in its third edition!

And after being so industrious, treat yourself to a relaxing al fresco market dinner: just about everything at the market can be thrown on the grill, from plums and scallops to corn and pork chops! Bon appetit!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

august 16, 2012

Sending your offspring off to college in the next couple of weeks? Why not pack a little goodie bag from the market as a reminder of home…Clean Ridge Soap Co. will be here this weekend…they make unforgettable soaps and lotions made with local herbs and flowers (like lemon verbena and lilac and more “manly” scents like cedar, too). They also make room diffusers –  which every dorm room could use, right?

Also – what college kid wouldn’t be thrilled with an assortment of Betsy’s Brownies. Or an eclectic medley of protein-packed nuts. nut butters  and locally-roasted coffee from Tierra Farm? Or herbal teas from Stone Barns & jams and honey from Honey Locust Farmhouse to sweeten up those first mornings away from home.

And, we’ve got just the thing to carry all these homegrown goodies in – our new grasshopper-green Chappaqua Farmers Market tote bags which we are selling at the market tent for only $5. Be among the first to sport one of these bags around town….

Madura has some interesting “snake” squash this week. They are pretty enough to be ornamental – to wear as a headdress or grace your mantle. But they also are perfect for cold summer squash soup – though you do have to peel their thick skins!

Lots of heirloom TOMATOES at the market this week. Make SURE you buy some mozzarella and basil to go with them. Don’t forget – tomatoes are also great for gazpacho, canning and great little vessels for stuffing, too!

The Morgiewicz Produce tent is brimming with their late-summer harvest: eggplant, zucchini, fingerlings (great roasted with fish!) and more. Newgate Farms has gorgeous beets and heirlooms, too.

I know many of you have been missing Buddhapesto’s pesto sauce. But have you tried the PURPLE BASIL PESTO from Honey Locust Farmhouse? Swing by the tent for a taste…I’ll let you be the judge.

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

August 10, 2012

Consider the oyster…

Have you ever seen anything so inherently ugly that tastes so delicious? The same goes for sea urchin, artichokes and kohlrabi. Sometimes you just have to look – far – beyond the physical appearance of certain foods to experience something truly sublime.

And so it goes with heirloom tomatoes which are notoriously hideous: bulbous, cracked, misshapen and occasionally off-color. While they may not look as pretty as your standard supermarket tomato, their flavor is exceptional. Some of them are firm and sweet enough to bite into like an apple. They are a fruit, after all. All that is required is a smattering of salt. And because heirlooms (Newgate Farms and Honey Locust Farmhouse) are tomato royalty, only the finest salt will do. Fortunately, Linzi Fastiggi from Spice Revolution will be at the market this week with her Fleur de Sel, the gourmet French sea salt she reserves for heirlooms

Madura Farms will have some small artichokes – though only a few. Steam them stem end up until tender – about 35- 45 minutes. Why not throw some lemon grass or ginger or garlic cloves, rosemary or thyme into the boiling water to give the globs an aromatic twist? You can also top trimmed baby artichokes with herbs, bread crumbs and olive oil. wrap them (generously) in foil paper and bake them for 35 – 60 minutes. Serve with a classic vinaigrette…or a tangy garlic aioli.  Whatever dressing you choose, the fun is in the un-dressing.

Hope to see you at the market in between rain drops and thunder claps. If the heirlooms can make it to the market…so can you!


august 2, 2012

…salad (with shrimp!)

Raw or cooked, corn is a great source of vitamins A & C and it’s packed with anti-oxidants and amino acids. It’s also just plain fun to eat. Did you know that each ear of corn averages about 800 kernels in 16 rows?

There will be piles of corn at the market this Saturday.
Although there’s nothing wrong with corn on the cob (cooked still in the husk, of course) try and think outside the box!

Here is  our resident chef Maria Reina’s recipe for chilled corn soup with basil oil (yum):
Chef Maria’s Cold Corn Soup w/Basil Oil
Makes about 1½ quarts
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, plus more
¼ teaspoon finely ground White Pepper
1 cup White Onion, ¼”dice
5 ears of Corn, shucked and cut in half

1 bunch Basil, leaves removed
Zest ½ Lemon
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Soup: Over medium heat sauté the onion with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper for 5 minutes, until translucent and soft. Meanwhile grate 4 ears of corn with a box grater in a large bowl (to catch all the juice), reserving the cobs. Cut the corn of the last cob and set that corn aside in a bowl. Once the onions are soft add the grated corn, (scraping all the lovely juice with a spatula) into the pot, along with 4 cups of water and the cobs. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. After the soup has simmered for 10 minutes take it off the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cobs with tongs gently tapping them against the pot remove any corn still clinging on, before discarding them. Using an emulsion (stick) or regular blender process the soup until it’s smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add the reserved corn to the pot and let it cool completely. Place in refrigerator until completely cold.

Basil Oil: Blanche the herb leaves for 10 seconds in boiling salted water, cool immediately, and drain well. This step will keep your oil a nice bright green. Add all the ingredients to a mini food processor and puree until its blended well and the leaves are finely chopped.

Serve the soup ice cold. Just before serving drizzle the oil over the soup and top with a few finely sliced (chiffonade) basil leaves for garnish.

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

July 26, 2012

I’ve had the same thing for lunch every day this week: a slice of Bread Alone’s peasant bread toasted, and topped with two or three thick slices of tomatoes. I drizzle the tomatoes with a small amount of Kontoulis ollve oil and then add a sprinking of crunchy Celtic sea salt (from Spice Revolution). Some days, I tear a few fragrant basil leaves right on top of the tomatoes, but the sandwich is delicious enough to stand on its own. I serve it open faced because it would be a shame  to cover up this beautiful portrait of summer on a plate. I know that Harriet the Spy discovered the tomato sandwich long before I. But I think it’s safe to say that mine is vastly improved. Consider the ingredients I’m working with here – not the least of which are freshly picked tomatoes. They taste nothing like the ones that have traveled from California or even further away that you find in most stores.

This is the time of year when it’s nice to keep things simple in the kitchen. The farmers market – with its bounty of fresh, quality ingredients, from just-caught lemon sole fillets to fresh mozzarella made just hours before we open, makes it so easy to do that. Pick up some basil pesto from Honey Locust Farmhouse’s, prepared exclusively for our market with basil cut from her gardens. Toss it with some pasta for a quick meal, or add it to that tomato sandwich. Or just buy her basil and she will tell you how to make your own pesto.

And, make sure you grace your summer table with a bouquet from Grammy’s Gardens – just to complete the picture.

See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

July 19, 2012

The drought has had a devastating effect on farms throughout the Midwest. PLEASE COME SHOW YOUR SUPPORT for ALL farmers at the market this weekend. In addition to vegetables and fruits, we are fortunate to have such high quality pastured meats at our market from Stone Barns and Roaming Angus. Even if you need nothing this weekend, buy something to put in the freezer for later this summer. You’ll be glad you did for so many reasons…

Locally, the dry weather shortened our gooseberry season. Instead of gooseberries, Newgate Farms will have lots of raspberries (including those pretty pale yellow/pink ones that look too pretty to eat!).

Fortunately our jam-maker Renee of Renee’s Jams snapped up enough gooseberries up to make jam. Be sure to pick some of her gooseberry jam this week. There’s nothing quite like gooseberry jam on an English muffin.

I’m happy to announce that Betsy Rich of Rich Brownies has come up with several new flavors of gluten-free brownies. My motto is “more is more,” says Rich, the former tv news producer turned brownie queen.”Because one of my closest friends has Celiac disease, I wanted to make a gluten free brownie for her. It was important that my gluten free brownie didn’t taste or feel like it was missing anything. So, I finally figured out the answer…replace the flour in each batch with another half pound of the imported dark Belgian chocolate I use in all of my brownies. The result is a deep, dense fudgy chocolate brownie. My original “Gluten Free” brownie was a smashing success with people who don’t eat gluten–but what surprised me most is that it has become one of my best sellers with gluten eaters too–because true chocoholics love its deep dense dark chocolate taste and texture. So I changed the name to “Flourless Brownie” and began to create new gluten free varieties.” As of this weekend, she will be selling the following gluten-free variations Flourless Chocolate Caramel Marshmallow, Flourless Chocolate Peanut, Flourless Chocolate Peppermint Pattie and Flourless Chocolate S’mores.

It makes me want to be gluten-free.

Except of course when I think of all the great pastas that Flour City Pasta has to offer.

Fork and Glass is visiting this weekend…make sure you order some tacos to eat at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

july 12, 2012

When Sandy and Mark Kurtz retired from teaching they thought they’d live out their golden years indulging in their favorite hobby: growing flowers. Little did they know that their hobby would quickly sprout into a second career. The Kurtzes are the founders of Grammy’s Garden in Warwick, a sprawling flower farm whose picturesque wildflower bouquets are legendary in the lower Hudson Valley. A handful of farmers markets are lucky enough to count them in their lineup and you can add Chappaqua Farmers Market to that short list. As of this Saturday, Adam Kurtz (their son who has taken over much of  the farming in recent years) will be coming to the market. If Adam has a certain glow about him, it’s because he just got back from his honeymoon. What type of flowers were featured at the wedding? All plucked from their fields of course.

Coach Farm Goat Cheese has also just signed on for the rest of the season. So you can count on having their fantastic aged goat “logs” or their crumbly goat spread or that soft and creamy goat tower laced with figs every week. This time of year, I love to make a meal of a salad and Coach Farm Cheese makes it so easy to do that. A cold salad of beets roasted in balsamic vinegar with crumbled cheese and mint? Mizuna salad with crumbled goat cheese, raspberries and caramelized pistachios? Or, why not put a thin slice of the log atop an heirloom tomato slice instead of mozzarella for a change? Goat cheese goes great with plums and makes a nice addition to any of the pastas from Flour City Pasta which are so flavorful on their own, they need only delicate, well-edited enhancements. And of course, a salad capped with melted goat cheese on baguette toasts is a lovely way to celebrate Bastille Day. (Baguettes will be discounted at Bread Alone in honor of my favorite holiday.)

Honey Locust is at the market this week with some great teas for icing like Organic Cherry Rose White tea (I’ve been nursing a glass all day).

Hope to see you at the market!